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Phone is Ringing – Hello!

Hello, it could be your customer! Or perhaps a person who has a new idea that could expand your business. Giving you a new edge!

Too often telephone calls to SMEs are left unanswered. Not even returned, although the number on the receiving end is saved. Why bother.

In my experience, at least in the German-speaking region, SMEs are typically very sluggish to organize a good customer response system. Some Italian companies pick up the phone and you hear “Pronto”. After having called several Italian companies one might think that Italy has only a company called “Pronto.”

Picking up the phone or calling back is one of the easiest ways to present your company as an attractive and responsive business partner. If the person picking up the phone is having a friendly and helpful tone and attitude a lot of goodwill has been gained.

For those entrepreneurs who still think about picking up the phone, but do not do it instinctively and do not require their employees to do it either, I can give following advice:

  • If the phone rings, pick it up, it could be a customer, a friendly person having a good idea, a supplier offering you a new component or service, which can make your company even more competitive
  • Set up an IT system that at least automatically answers how is your company called. It is a nice gesture to the caller to get assured, he did dial the right number
  • Buy mobile phones, sufficient amount and train your employees to use them and ask them to pick up the phones
  • Show example to your employees, I mean in picking up the phone!

I have worked for several companies in Germany, employees ranging from 50 to 600+, and in many cases phones were left unanswered even during lunch time. The assumption was that international customers will have lunch time when the wheels stop in Germany. I think it is a bold assumption!

German companies pride themselves of being technology leaders, but somehow they have forgotten the invention of telephone! Oh, sorry, that was an American invention.

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